I have been on the island for only a few days and mostly spent in the far south of the island. Purposely I chose to stay away from the urban area Agana with its resorts and hotels.
Driving through the villages of the south, it reminds me of Venezuela. The quality of most of the homes is substandard to mainland American homes. Definitely a poorer economy for most of the islanders. This is in contrast to the military housing facilities which are suburbia USA. You can’t beat the weather however, with sunny skies, warm nights and the Pacific ocean always near by, it makes me long for living again in the tropics. I spent 13 years living in Latin America and was ready for temperate climes and the change of seasons, but there is something to be said for tropical living.
I basically see Guam as a roadside park. The Pacific Ocean is huge and refueling/rest stops are needed for America as they try to control shipping and air of the whole world with their military. Hence, the naval and air force bases on Guam and it is an American territory. I can see why Guam and Saipan were fought over so fiercely in World War II. Using airstrips and facilities on these islands put the USA within striking distance of mainland Japan. With China building islands in the south China Sea and apparently trying to make a sphere of influence similar to what America did in the Caribbean (read Robert Kaplan’s book, Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific), I don’t see the USA leaving anytime soon. Outside of the city, it doesn’t feel like America until you get in the supermarket or watch TV. Most of the people I see are dark-skinned Polynesians, who look a bit like Venezuelans. It is ironic that besides military bases, Guam relies on Japanese tourism to boost their economy. Over 1 million Japanese visit yearly. It is only an inexpensive, 3-hour direct flight from Osaka.
We are enjoying quiet family time together and soaking up the south Pacific land and sea natural beauty.